A veteran prison guard at the state's Spring Creek Correctional Center in Seward who used a pocketknife to defend himself from an attack by three inmates in October was fired for having had the pocketknife with him in violation of prison policy. According to The Seward Phoenix Log, Officer Kim Spalding appealed his firing to an arbitration panel, and his fellow correctional officers are coming to his defense, saying Spalding is "lucky to be alive."
The use of the weapon is not at issue, as Spalding was entitled to employ any means of self defense after the assault began.
According to Spalding and other staff at SCCC, threats had been leveled at Spalding and administrative staff was aware of the elevated risk but no further action was taken previous to the assault. The threats were not made to Spalding directly and he became aware of them only incidentally.
In this context, Spalding then chose to take the precautionary measure of carrying an ordinary pocketknife. As Spalding explains, it was not uncommon for correctional officers, even supervisory staff, to carry pocketknives in violation of SCCC policy. As far as state of Alaska statutes are concerned, carrying a pocketknife is not considered concealing a weapon, Spalding points out.
Spalding was treated at a Seward medical center after the fight and was released the same day. The attack was captured on video, according to the newspaper.
Read more at the Phoenix Log: Questions remain after SCCC assault